1 May 2010 (Shibi'i/Sukkot))|
Day #47, 5934 AM
Minas and Talents
Multiplying to Yahweh's Glory
This well-known parable of Yah'shua was spoken by the Master as He and His talmidim (disciples) were drawing near to Jerusalem. Expectation among them was high for they were convinced that He was about to restore the theocratic, Messianic Kingdom on earth. However, as Yah'shua clearly explains, before this Theocratic Kingdom can be set up, He must first depart from the world. This they did not want to hear. Worse, in some respects, from their point-of-view, He was telling His talmidim how they were to be occupiied while He is away for the next 2,000 years and how He will reward them when He returns to earth again!
"Now as they heard these things, He spoke another parable, because He was near Jerusalem and because they thought the kingdom of God would appear immediately. Therefore He said: 'A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and to return. So he called ten of his servants, delivered to them ten minas, and said to them, 'Do business till I come.' But his citizens hated him, and sent a delegation after him, saying, 'We will not have this man to reign over us.' And so it was that when he returned, having received the kingdom, he then commanded these servants, to whom he had given the money, to be called to him, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading. Then came the first, saying, 'Master, your mina has earned ten minas.' And he said to him, 'Well done, good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities.' And the second came, saying, 'Master, your mina has earned five minas.' Likewise he said to him, 'You also be over five cities.' Then another came, saying, 'Master, here is your mina, which I have kept put away in a handkerchief. For I feared you, because you are an austere man. You collect what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow.' And he said to him, 'Out of your own mouth I will judge you, you wicked servant. You knew that I was an austere man, collecting what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow. Why then did you not put my money in the bank, that at my coming I might have collected it with interest?' And he said to those who stood by, 'Take the mina from him, and give it to him who has ten minas.' ("But they said to him, 'Master, he has ten minas.') For I say to you, that to everyone who has will be given; and from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. But bring here those enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, and slay them before me''" (Luke 19:11-27, NKJV).
In this story each of the ten servants represents how the Messianic Community or Church will treat the Ten Commandments on one level of understanding. Each servant is given the same sum of money to indicate that every commandment has the same weighting as well as what all believers have in common, which is the grace of salvation and the gospel as a trust (1 Thes.2:4; 1 Tim.1:11). The ten servants could also represent the Ten Tribes who will receive the Gospel ahead of Judah and Benjamin after the expulsion of the Judahites from Judea. Indeed, the parable closes with a description of the attitude of the Judhaites toward their Messianic King, and how they will they 'slain' for rejecting Him, which is a way of saying they will be cut off from Him and from Israel.
Yah'shua must have told this parable more than once and on different occasions because it is found told in a slightly different way in the Gospel of Matthew:
We do not commonly view Yah'shua as "hard", "austere" or "harsh", do we? We have grown accustomed to weak, symbolic, figurehead monarchs in the modern West who lack any real power but anciently they were absolute rulers. Yah'shua wishes His listeners to understand that this is how He will deal with those who claim to be His servants but who do nothing or who accuse Him of being unfair. These are His own words. This is the language of a slave-owner, only Yah'shua's slaves or servants are so by choice, not compulsion. The unprofitable servant in both accounts does not meet a happy ending, being slain in one and cast into outer darkness in the other. Remember, that these are those who are saved, not the unsaved! In other words, Yah'shua is making is very clear that a soul can lose his salvation if he does nothing with it. Our salvation is an investment to bring glory to Yahweh-Elohim - it isn't just for us! Of all the teachings of the Master this is one of the clearest as far as exposing and dismissing the lie of the 'Once Saved, Always Saved' (OSAS) doctrine which came into being as a result of twisting the words of Paul. This parable should therefore sober us up.
"For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them. And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey. Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents. And likewise he who had received two gained two more also. But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his Master's money. After a long time the Master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, 'Master, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.' His Master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your Master.' He also who had received two talents came and said, 'Master, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.' His Master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your Master.' Then he who had received the one talent came and said, 'Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.' But his Master answered and said to him, 'You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. Therefore take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents. For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth'" (Matt.25:14-30, NKJV).
Who is this man who has lost his salvation? What has he done? He has not merely been idle but he has deliberately hidden his mina or talent (also called a 'pound' in some translations). In the first parable the ten servants are given one mina each (a total of ten minas) but in the second only three servants are mentioned and they are given talents in the ratio 5:2:1 (a total of eight talents). But in both parables the total number of talents in the three servants mebtioned is increased to 16. This difference in numbers is not accidental. The number 1 represents unity, primacy and beginning. The number 2 represents division or difference. And the number 5 represents 'Creation plus', a new beginning. The servant with 5 talents doubles it to 10 (representing completeness of order, or the 10 commandments), the servant with 2 talents has doubled it to 4, and the servant with 1 who buried it in the ground, lost his to the servant with 10, giving him a total of 11. In the end there are 15 talents in total. In Yahweh's system of weights and measures, 15 shekels represents a mina (Ezek.45:12)! In other words, the two faithful servants represent the 'whole' Kingdom for the third is sent to hell, is he not? Who are these two servants? They are the children of the first and second resurrections, and together they represent the full number of the saved.
In the first parable the first servant who had been given 1 mina had earned 10. The second, who had also received 1 mina had multiplied it to 5. And the third servant who had received 1 mina had done nothing with it, having hidden it in a handkerchief. Notice that the total is the same in both parables - 16! In Hebraic gematria, 16 is the same as 1+6 which is 7, the number of completion. Again, we see here depicted the full complement of the saved consisting of the children of the first and second resurrections.
Both parables are teaching the same general principles but highlighting different aspects. On the one hand everyone starts with exactly the same advantage - 1 mina which represents salvation. Those who come to Yah'shua start as equals but they separate out into three different categories because of the choices they make - the children of the first resurrection, the children of the second resurrection, and those who belong to the resurrection of condemnation (Jn.5:29) because they fall away, joining those who were never saved. In the second parable Yahweh gives different gifts to people based on His foreknowledge of what they are going to do with them, for those who receive the most talents prove to be faithful and inherit the first resurrection, those who receive an intermediate number of gifts prove to be faithful to those and inherit the second resurrection, and those who receive only one do nothing and lose their salvation. Yahweh is not wasteful and allows only so much to be squandered. And yet the '1' that is squandered is not, for it is given to the most faithful servant, the one who delights in multiplying his mina or talent.
Every gift we have received from the Most High can be multiplied to give Him glory. He delights in multiplication. And naturally multiplication requires hard work! The lazy inherit nothing. And what was their excuse? They excused themselves by accusing their Master of being lazy! And yet it never occurred to them that the minas or talents might actually have cost their Master everything, as indeed it did, for Yah'shua laid down His life for His servants (on the Cross) and then assigned them stewardships to enable them to express their gratitude for their salvation!
It does not matter where you are or what circumstances you find yourselves in for you can multiply your minas or talents anywhere. You could be someone like Wurmbrandt languishing in a prison being tortured year after year, you could be on a desert island, or you could be an evangelist winning souls for Messiah, and still be multiplying your talent. Whatever is within your reach is your vineyard and the people around you are where you can multiply Yahweh's gifts to you. Do you have problems, issues and needs? I am sure you do. But that does not make you a spiritual cripple for the secret of the Kingdom is, and has always been, and will always be, that your service to others is the way you serve not only Yahweh but also get your own needs met, because in doing the Gospel life you open the door to the Ruach haQodesh. Thus Dutch artist van Gough wrote to French artist Gaugin that an artist received consolation for his own woes "by offering consolation to the broken-hearted" through his paitning. This he learned the invaluable lesson that what you do to console others becomes a consolation for yourself.
We do not need to live in fear like the servant with one mina who did nothing with it, nor should we seek to excuse ourselves by faulting others, and especially not the One who has given us the opportunity to do something with our life. By throwing ourselves into serving Yahweh wherever we may find ourselves we are preserving our salvation and multiplying it for greater glory, as well as multiplying our gifts for even more glory...the glory of our Master who died for us and made Heaven for us.
Let us be about multiplication!